Aug 19, 2012

Economic policy as the outcome of a marriage

. . . Husbands and wives are, of course, engaged in a never-ending set of exchanges of information, negotiations, and compromises over issues that could never have been anticipated in advance. A good marriage is characterized by a process of constant give and take, and constant adaptation to ever-changing circumstances, always leavened by good will. Similarly, to get better economic policy, economists and political types must be joined together in a lasting union—not in a series of one-night stands. They must interact regularly, with each understanding the other’s comparative advantage. To be sure, these will be arranged marriages founded on convenience, not romances based on love. But if we can increase the frequency and durability of such marriages, and limit divorces, George Stigler will have been proven wrong and Don Patinkin will have been proven right.
That is Alan Blinder: "Economic Advice and Political Decisions: A Clash of Civilizations?,” The Patinkin Lecture, Israel Economic Association, May 2005, forthcoming in The Economic Quarterly. You can download it here -- it is the fourth of the forthcoming items. 

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